I am often asked this question when people are trying to lose weight: can I drink diet soda? While there are some people who are able to switch from regular soda to diet soda and lose weight, there are other people who actually gain weight when they make the switch to diet soda.
You might be wondering, how can this possibly happen when you’re not drinking any calories? After all, when you drink a diet soda instead of regular soda, you are cutting out approximately 160 total calories and about 40 grams of sugar carbs in just one can – that’s a lot!
But what that also means is that there is something other than calories in diet soda causing people to gain weight…but what?
To find out, let’s take a look at the ingredients in a can of regular Coke vs a can of Diet Coke.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Notice anything? As you can see, it is very clear that neither provide any sort of real nutritional value and have stuff you just shouldn’t be putting into your bodies.
The diet soda is calorie free, so it must be the better of the two options when it comes to cutting calories and weight loss, right? Not necessarily. Just look at that longer line of chemical ingredients.
From the above ingredient list example, you also see that diet coke uses aspartame to sweeten the beverage instead of sugar. Other diet beverages also use alternative artificial sweetener ingredients such as sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate, or acesulfame-k.
It is these artificial sweeteners that are the reason why even though drinking diet soda cuts your calories, it does not necessarily lead to weight loss.
Soda, Diet Soda, and The Metabolic Syndrome
The metabolic syndrome is what researchers have named the increased risk of diabetes and heart disease from a combination of factors that include:
- increased abdominal fat
- low HDL cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- high triglycerides
The metabolic syndrome has been linked to drinking soda.
Two formal studies done by and blank showed that those who drank diet soda had a 35% increased chance of developing metabolic syndrome. Researchers believe the artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually confuses the body into believing it is consuming sugar.
Another theory is that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda lead to cravings for more sweet foods. So even though you cut some calories by drinking diet soda, cravings for sugary and processed foods increase, which results in consuming even more calories in the long run.
People Can Switch to Diet Soda and Lose Weight
I would never suggest switching from regular soda to diet soda to help you lose weight. There are just so many other better ways to lose weight like cutting out soda altogether and opting to make your water taste better naturally with such ingredients as cucumber or lemon. Learn other great ways to enhance your water.
But, why is that some can switch to diet soda and lose weight? It’s because these people will also have likely changed other lifestyle factors besides their soda consumption.
Doing any one of the following will also lead to weight loss:
- change of overall diet
The Very Bad News
So…you made the decision to switch from regular soda to drinking diet soda daily and also change your overall diet, which causes you to lose weight.
Fantastic, you look better! The bad news is research has shown drinking diet soda increases your risk of many diseases, especially type II diabetes. This 14-year European study showed women who consumed mostly diet soft drinks had over a 100% increased risk of developing type II diabetes. It can’t get anymore scary than that!
But I Hate Drinking Water!
You don’t know how often I hear this one. This tends to happen when people have lived off of sweetened drinks like iced tea, soft drinks and flavored coffees their entire life. They may say water makes them feel sick and/or it tastes disgusting.
What do I recommend? You just have to deal with it! You have to force yourself to drink water and water alone. Sure, you can enjoy tea or coffee black, but you have to drink water – no soda or gatorade! To make the water more tolerable, try flavoring it with fruit or berries to get that sweetness your body may be craving.
The good news is that the more you drink water, the less you will enjoy the taste of soda or diet soda. I admit to still enjoying the occasional ginger ale or flavored coffee, but colas that I could tolerate when I was much younger taste so disgustingly sweet now I can’t stand them.
And even further on the bright side, you also won’t have to worry about what the calorie-free artificial sweeteners are doing to the insides of your body!
If you have any questions or if there’s a favorite creative way you like to enjoy your water, please share below!